Mexican cantinas, distilleries and doughnut bars – new Gold Coast cafes and restaurants to put on your radar
Just like that, we’re well over halfway through 2020 – the year that expertly hoodwinked us all. Slowly but surely, the city’s hospitality scene is kicking back into gear as locals come out of the woodworks (good riddance, iso life) and begin to enjoy some form of normality. As the situation continues to ease here on the coast, we’re seeing more and more new venues that were pushed back due to the pandemic finally get the opportunity to open their doors for the very first time – and it’s truly thrilling to see. It can be hard to keep up, so in case you missed any of the action, here are the top new restaurants and cafes (there’s even a distillery in the mix!) to open on the Gold Coast recently.
Tarte Bakery & Cafe, Burleigh
Tarte Bakery & Cafe melds a little bit of London with a hint of Paris and a dusting of West Village New York to create a worldly wonderland of rustic baked goods, hand-made sweet treats, mouth-watering brunch bites and specialty coffee. It’s the latest project from Chloe Watts, the former owner-operator of Paddock Bakery, and has been a hive of activity since it opened. There’s a cabinet of eye-catching pastries like classic French canele, chocolate babka swirled with Nutella, and cinnamon-dusted cruller doughnuts, as well as an all-day menu of eats. Turkish eggs in spiced butter, anyone?
Robina locals’ screams (and dreams) for more quality coffee, grab-and-go bites and all-day eats have been heard – Parkway is here! The new caffeine dispensary and all-day-brunch spot is the latest venue from the team behind popular Palm Beach hub Third Base, bringing you top-notch brews and a crowd-pleasing menu seven days a week. Parkway offers an all-day menu that takes you from breakfast classics through to hearty lunch dishes – and there’s also a cabinet brimming with tasty sandwiches, baked treats and molten toasties for those on the go. The owners are also in the process of acquiring a liquor licence for Parkway, which will eventually see the space open for evening trade and events – watch this space!
Coda Bar & Dining, Broadbeach
Gracing the dining strip beneath The Phoenician in Broadbeach, Coda Bar & Dining is an exciting second venue from the team from neighbouring Italian carb haven Don’t Gnocc It. The 5o-seater opens for lunch and dinner Tuesday to Sunday, armed with a contemporary European-style menu of smaller plates and larger dishes that traverse land and sea – think gin-cured salmon with avocado mousse and horseradish creme fraiche, fried green olives with ‘nduja and arrabiata sauce, grilled saganaki with honey, roasted walnuts and pomegranate molasses and fun sips like tiramisu espresso martinis topped with a boozy sponge fingers.
Burleigh Baker, Paradise Point
After making a name for itself in Burleigh Heads, famed bakery Burleigh Baker – which is renowned for its artisan sourdough, high-quality fermented breads and delicious baked goods – has brought the goodness north with a second venue in Paradise Point. The new northern iteration of Burleigh Baker features its award-winning sourdoughs and an expansive range of artisan breads, sweet and savoury pastries, fresh sandwiches, specialty coffee (by new local roaster Handsome Coffee) and a menu with a handful of dine-in and takeaway breakfast options. Just head to The Esplanade and follow your nose.
D Point Ten, Varsity Lakes
If you’re a true doughnut connoisseur, then you’ll be well aware of D Point Ten. The popular doughnut bar recently opened its fifth Gold Coast location, bringing the goods a little further south to Varsity Lakes. Here you’ll find all of your D Point Ten favourites from the OG cinnamon and vanilla-glazed doughnuts through to can’t-stop-at-one creations like creme brulee and the highly addictive Caramilk doughnut. Go forth and ruin that diet, ya’ll.
Kylie’s Cupcakery, Nerang
When an entire cabinet of sweet goodies can continually sell out within a few hours, you know it must be good. Kylie’s Cupcakery is the coast’s newest sweets haven – when it opened on Lavelle Street in Nerang in July, it sent locals in a total sugar-induced craze. With decadent flavours like Merlo-infused mocha, lemon with elderflower buttercream, vegan chocolate and peanut butter, caramel popcorn, pineapple, apple pie, musk, the lolly-topped Candy Lane and more to choose from, deciding on just one is near impossible – so do yourself a solid and splurge on a mixed pack.
A new spot for morning sips and sleek snips landed in Tugun in early August, giving southern locals a handy new go-to spot to get caffeinated. Byron Bay’s Moonshine Coffee is pouring here daily, along with a bunch of coffee alternatives and sweet baked snacks by Currumbin’s Fuel Bakehouse. If you’re in the market for a beard trim or moustache touch up, there’s an on-site barber on the shearers available for bookings and walk-ins.
El Camino Cantina, Robina
Big-as-your-head frozen margaritas, oversized nachos oozing with cheese, tasty tacos, fiery fajitas, colourful sombreros, happy hours and bottomless tortilla chips – that’s the vibe at the coast’s new Tex-Mex eatery, El Camino Cantina. It’s the first Gold Coast location for the colourful cantina (Brisbane and Byron Bay folk are already well acquainted), with the eclectic, neon-lit eatery and bar taking over the former Lord of the Wings site at Robina Town Centre. If you love a marg, put El Camino on your hit list.
Hunky Dory, Palm Beach
Looking for good quality fish and chips? Here you go. Hunky Dory is a popular Melbourne fish and chippery, which made the move to Queensland in mid-2020 (the Palm Beach location is its first) with a crowd-pleasing of fresh seafood. You can choose from fried packs, loaded with flake fillets and guilty pleasures like dim sims, potato scallops and fried calamari rings – or opt for something lighter with the signature grilled fish served with either rice, salad or chippies. Plant-based folk can also get their fix here, with ‘fishless fish’ options across the menu. Oh, and you can grab some booze if you’re dining in!
Common Ground, Burleigh Heads
While it was originally pegged for a late-March opening (thanks, COVID), Common Ground finally opened its doors in late June – much to the delight of Burleigh and Miami locals. The leafy new brunch spot is located the original Burleigh Social site, which was occupied by Burleigh Co-Op until late last year. Local hospitality duo Euan and Bella Lovell (also part owners of Broadbeach bar Fig & Frankie’s) and Matt Tranter have reinvented the iconic premises with an entirely new identity. There’s an all-day menu (set to expand as restrictions continue to ease) with dishes like truffle-honey mushrooms and poached eggs with goats cheese roasted macadamia on rye bread, as well as coffee by local roaster Social Espresso. This spot gets lots of sunshine, so get on down there and soak it up.
Le Bon Choix, Pacific Fair
Love sweets? Make a beeline for Le Bon Choix. The patisserie and boulangerie has seven locations in Brisbane – and this is it’s first Gold Coast venue. Located at Pacific Fair, Le Bon Choix is a haven for your favourite French treats and eats. The cabinets are constantly brimming with rows of eye-popping treats – think buttery croissants, delicate macarons in all of the colours of the rainbow, too-pretty-to-eat petit fours, indulgent croque monsieur, freshly baked baguettes, crunchy French batards and so much more! Oh, and a handy tip – if you’re chasing a whole cake for a special occasion (or just because), there’s always a series of larger cakes on display that are ready to take home, or you can order custom cakes ahead of time.
The Lucky Squire, Broadbeach
Beer swillers and keep hop heads waited patiently for the opening of the Gold Coast’s first-ever James Squire brewhouse – and were rewarded with the arrival of the mammoth 450-seat beer haven in mid-June. The The Lucky Squire is the latest addition to Broadbeach’s Oracle Boulevard precinct, cutting a striking figure that wraps around the entire western corner of the dining hub. On the ground level, the commanding 14-metre-long bar catches the eye of discerning beer lovers – it’s lined with custom-built copper-trimmed beer taps pouring the entire James Squire range from pale ales and porters to lagers, ginger beer and ciders. On the second level lies a smaller bar and seating area, offering prime viewing of the fully functioning glass-encased microbrewery where the expert beer wizards are at work. The brewhouse also serves up a hearty menu of refined pub-style eats and beer-friendly bites.
Miss Mee, Nobby Beach
Taking the Nobby Beach space formerly home to Hellenika, this newly opened Southeast-Asian dining spot and rooftop bar is the latest venture from the owners of Burleigh’s Justin Lane. The site has been completely transformed from the ground up – think neon lights, hot-pink furnishings and plenty of personality splashed throughout. The menu takes a slight Thai lean, favouring group feasts with five- and eight-course banquets the best way to experience all of the favourites. To sip? Don’t look past the boozy bubble tea!
The Van by Burleigh Pavilion, Burleigh Heads
In case you missed it, you can now get fresh bread and baked goods from Burleigh Pavilion from 6:00 am every single day! Operating from a repurposed 70s Viscount caravan, this new new beachside treat pitstop features a daily arrangement of grab-and-go sweets and savouries, all made on site by Burleigh Pavilion’s head chef Guillaume Zika and his troupe of baking wizards. Each morning The Van is lined with loaves of hot-from-the-oven sourdough bread, individual savoury focaccia, banana bread, flaky croissants, and handmade doughnuts of the cinnamon-dusted, custard-spiked or jam-filled variety. You’ll also find a menu of cooked-to-order eats like bacon and egg rolls, haloumi and avocado rolls, smoothie bowls and toasted focaccia sandwiches. Yum!
The Whisky Lounge, Mudgeeraba
Whether you’re a certified whisk(e)y connoisseur, are a wannabe whisky drinker trying to navigate the game or you fall neatly in between the two categories, Mudgeeraba’s new home of drams, nips and top drops, Whisky Lounge, will take you on a personalised sipping journey across the globe. Nestled along Railway Street in Mudgeeraba’s village precinct, the quaint bar is lined with an ever-growing collection of more than 130 different whiskies from around the world. The vibe is intentionally casual and, given it operates under a small-bar licence, there’s no food – but you’re more than welcome to BYO snacks or takeaway meals from nearby eateries.
Baskk Italian, Kirra
After a pandemic-induced hiatus, popular Kirra restaurant and bar Baskk reopened in early July with an entirely new identity. It’s now Baskk Italian – Kirra-Coolangatta area’s newest pizza, pasta and insalata-slinging eatery. Simple, honest and traditional Italian food made using quality all-local produce is what it’s all about for the new Baskk Italian. Expect snacks like warm, fluffy focaccia with n’duja, pastas like 12-hour slow-cooked ragu pappardelle, plus Naples-style pizzas and eye-catching desserts like the giant profiterole sandwich (hello) filled with fior di latte gelato and doused in hot chocolate fondue. Bellissimo!
Wildflower Gin, Burleigh
This brand-new distillery opened just a week before lockdown – so the first product to come out of its facility was actually hand sanitiser. Fast forward to better times (now) and Wildflower is going gangbusters with its flagship signature dry gin, produced locally at the distillery on Scottsdale Drive. While it’s not a bar or tasting room just yet (it’s in the plans), you can head on down and chat to the team and pick up your own bottle straight from the source. Given the small-batch nature of the brand, we can expect to see some exciting limited-edition gin releases to come out of the Burleigh Heads distillery over the coming months – along with some tasty aged bourbons and whiskies!
Bonnie’s Cafe, Ashmore
We love a hidden gem. Quality cafe-style eats are few and far between in the coast’s industrial areas, which is exactly the market that Bonnie Cullen is aiming to capture with her namesake venture Bonnie’s Cafe in Ashmore. Here you can load up on half-kilo servings of slow-cooked meats, sub-style sandwiches with lip-smacking fillings and stacked pickle-topped burgers with buttery brioche buns – all best sided with old-school gravy-smothered chips.
Coming soon – but wait, there’s more! Finally, 2020 is coming through with even more goodness. The former owner of Paddock Bakery, Chloe Watts, is set to open Tarte Bakery & Cafe in Burleigh Heads (in the former Vecchia Roma spot), and new brewery Bobs Beer will be pouring beers in the coming weeks. Howzat for a bit of post-pandemic positivity?
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